Salivary glands
Normal
Embryology

Author: Sally Tanakchi (see Authors page)
Editor: F. Zahra Aly, M.D., Ph.D.

Revised: 9 March 2018, last major update September 2015

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Embryology[TIAB] salivary glands
Cite this page: Tanakchi, S. Embryology. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/salivaryglandsembryology.html. Accessed October 16th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Parotid gland primordia (anlage) arises in weeks 5 - 6 from ectoderm, followed by submandibular gland primordia in week 6 from endoderm, then sublingual gland primordia in weeks 7 - 8 from endoderm
  • Intraoral minor salivary glands (including von Ebner gland) develop during the third month from endoderm
  • Primordia develop from primitive oral cavity (stomodeum) as buds, which proliferate as cords, form terminal bulbs, develop clefts and further proliferate as branches from original cord; then the process is repeated
  • Lumens form in epithelial cords and progress to terminal bulbs; cells differentiate into various ducts and acini
  • Connective tissue diminishes with maturation
  • Parotid buds may penetrate intraparotid lymph nodes; rare with submandibular or sublingual structures
  • Secretion by the parotid glands via the parotid duct begins at about 18 weeks of gestation, while secretion by the submandibular gland begins at 16 weeks of gestation
Diagrams / tables

Images hosted on PathOut server:
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Origin of the parotid gland, submandibular gland and
sublingual gland from the epithelial lining of the
primitive stomodeum is illustrated in the schematic
drawing of the oral cavity of a 9 week old embryo

Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:
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Photomicrograph in section through fetal
tongue, linguogingival groove and buccal
mucosa shows the proliferative epithelial
cord of the developing parotid gland (arrow)

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Primitive epithelial ducts and tubules
are mostly undifferentiated and within
a very loose but moderately cellular,
fibrous stroma in a 25 week old fetus

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At high magnification, the terminal tubules are a
double layer of epithelial cells; outer layer will
differentiate into myoepithelial and basal cells and
inner cells will become ductal and serous acinar cells